Opinion: Bring on the ban of menthol cigarettes

Apr 28, 2021, 3:53 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm

menthol cigarette ban Amanda Dixon KSL...

(Photo: Canva)

(Photo: Canva)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

SALT LAKE CITY — When I was a kid and lived 1,500 miles away from my parents at a private school in Florida, I started smoking menthol cigarettes. The first cigarette I ever smoked was a Salem. I coughed my guts out, as every first-time smoker does, and then I had another one, and another, for twenty-five years.

I smoked mostly menthol cigarettes because they tasted cool, like ice, like menthol gum. In fact, I smoked Kool cigarettes for a while, which were the strongest cigarettes I ever smoked, before weaning myself back down to Salem, and then Salem lights. I started smoking when I was a kid in 1977 because I was lonely and wanted to be part of the group, the dumbest reason any kid ever starts smoking, although every reason is dumb. 

I won’t share my sob story with you here about how hard it was to quit smoking. Let’s just say I tried cold turkey, patches, determination, pills, yoga, you name it. I’d get weeks, sometimes months under my belt, and then a particularly hard day would hit me, and I’d stop at 7-11 for a pack of smokes. Smoking felt like the only dependable friend I had in the universe.

That’s what addiction feels like, sounds like, to me.

What finally did it?

What finally worked was getting pregnant. The day I found out I was pregnant with another life inside me, that did it. When I reached for a cigarette I looked at it, and then threw it away. I could not, could NOT, put smoke in my body if it hurt the baby. I threw the rest of the pack away, and didn’t smoke again. I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times since, but nothing serious. Although I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes I’ll walk past someone smoking on the street, and I inhale deeper.

To me – it smells good. 

But here’s the point I wanted to make. President Biden is expected to announce a ban on menthol cigarettes this week. I say “Bravo!” Menthol is more popular with young people and, as it turns out, African Americans, so it affects those populations disproportionately.

It could be years before the ban takes effect because the tobacco companies will fight it again with, heaven knows what arguments this time. Haven’t they exhausted their arsenal of bad arguments defending cigarettes?

I am reminded of the story former Speaker of the House John Boehner tells about serving on the board of the Reynolds Tobacco Company. During a break of one of their board meetings, Boehner stepped outside for a smoke and another board member approached him.

You really smoke those things Boehner? You know they’ll kill you.”

Designed to kill

What has always killed me about cigarettes and allowing them to be sold is that this product, when used as it is intended, can kill people. Take another product, say a car or toy or fruit or vegetable – the second something goes wrong with it (that might kill people) it is yanked off the market as quick as you please, and we tell you about it immediately on the news.

Recalls! Emergency! Salmonella! But not cigarettes. When you use this product in the way it is intended to be used, it will kill you. No emergency. No story. You just buy it, and smoke it, and die.

So this former smoker who wasted twenty-five years of her life addicted to the foulest of products says “Bravo!” to banning menthol cigarettes. There is no good use for them. There is no safe amount of cigarette smoking. The world will be better off without them. Think of them as salmonella on a stick, on fire, in your mouth. Good riddance! 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


The New Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, Miller Family Campus, in Lehi is dedicated at ...

Heather Peterson

One third of Utah hospitals not in compliance with hospital price transparency law

Hospitals have been required to post a list of the prices they charge for services since January 1, 2021.

4 hours ago

code blue alert issued for multiple northern Utah counties...

Becky Bruce

Code Blue Alert issued for multiple northern Utah counties

Salt Lake County declared a Code Blue Alert on Sunday night and multiple Utah counties expected similar conditions Monday.

15 hours ago


Michelle Lee

The hidden dangers of too much sugar

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Health Educator Troy Duell to learn about the hidden dangers of sugar.

2 days ago

Chief of Police for Price City Police Department, Brandon Sicilie, holding PeeDee....

Britt Johnson

Abandoned puppy finds a home at the Price Police Department

PeeDee, a puppy found on the side of a roadway during a dispatch call, has found a new home with the Price City Police Department.

3 days ago

cdc sign shown, the agency updated its covid guidelines...

Brenda Goodman, CNN

CDC drops 5-day isolation guidance for COVID-19

The CDC says it’s updating its guidance for Covid-19 to bring it in line with its advice for other kinds of respiratory infections, including influenza and RSV.

3 days ago

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Opinion: Bring on the ban of menthol cigarettes